Pesticides: All That You Need To Know

When it comes to the word pesticide, most people take it synonymous to harmful or toxic, something that isn’t good for humans and hence can kill pests. All in all, the word holds a strongly negative image in most people’s mind. The reason being, all they get to hear about is how synthetic products have been causing problems for people and how many of these products are not being used for the past 20-40 years. Well, it is about time that people get to know about pesticides and find answers to the questions lurking in their minds for ages, regarding pesticides. Even after years of the creation of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and despite their declaration of safe insecticides and pesticides; many still question whether pesticides used in or around homes are unsafe and harmful.

So what exactly is a pesticide?

In simple words or what people commonly understand by the word is, “What kills pests is a pesticide.” However, it is a broad term which also includes herbicides. When we take a closer look at how they are used and how they treat pests, we realize, in proper pest controlling techniques with a management plan these pesticides are used in a way that they won’t just kill pests but repel and control them.

Harmful Insecticides:

There are some major insecticides which were once considered as an effective pesticide but were later restricted from use due to their harmful effects on the environment and human health.


Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), was once extensively used as pesticide. Paul Muller was the person to discover its pest killing properties. During World War II, DDT was quite effectively used to control malaria and kill mosquitoes responsible to spread the disease. After some time, concerns regarding, the harmful effects of the chemical upon human health and the environment, grew among researchers, medical and health experts and environmentalists. These growing apprehensions further lead to a ban on DDT by EPA in 1972. However, later, through research U.S. National Toxicology program declared DDT as “moderately toxic.” The chemical was found to be a cause of many hormonal and neurological disorders among people. Thus, in places that with extreme pest and weather conditions like, tropical countries, DDT is still used to fight malaria.


Diazinon was used to control pests both, indoors and outdoors. However, the chemical was deemed harmful to human health causing headaches, nausea, cramps, blurred vision and chest tightness upon prolonged exposure. The chemical was prohibited to be sold for non-agricultural purposes in 2004. Some consumers having purchased the product before the restriction still continued using it.


Chlordane was considered a magical pesticide that could killed everything that crawls; from structural pests (termites) to agricultural pests. Not just that, its miraculous properties included, keeping pests at bay for years. This chemical was also banned by EPA, considering its slow breakdown and hence leaving harmful effects over the environment and health for a long period. After restriction on its use in 1983, the chemical was permitted to be used for termite control till 1988. The chemical was banned after chlordane’s presence was found in human tissues resulting in cancer.

Terms, you should know about:

Every industry has its specific language, vocabulary of its own. Yet, these terms are only understood by experts and not people, in general. Pest controlling is a service required by almost everyone at least once in their life. Thus, it is very important for people to at least have some basic know how about what these words used by experts actually mean.

1. Residual:

Insecticides that are applied once but work for several hours after its application. The most common example of residual would be the general treatment done through spraying insecticide onto the foundation of your belongings and property.

2. Non Residual:

These insecticides are only instantly effective and will only work when applied. Fogging and contact treatments are all treated through non-residual insecticides.

3. Restricted Use:

The insecticides restricted for use because of their harmful properties by EPA. These pesticides are not to be used by amateurs but can only be used and are available for use of trained and certified experts. For pesticides that are not to be used by general public, EPA labels them for general use. These are not harmful for human health and the environment.

4. Spot Treatment:

A treatment that is done with the application of one or more insecticides to areas which are most vulnerable to be attacked by pests.

5. General Treatment:

Insecticide applied to large areas like walls, floors, ceilings or exterior of any property.

Hope these facts, from what researches and history, will clear out your misconceptions regarding the toxicity of all pesticides. Pesticides defined as safe for general use are not so harmful at all, so if you are facing a pest infestation lately call your pest controlling professional rather than delaying it for no reason.

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